Alexa
  • Directory of Taiwan

Eric Chu denies chasm within KMT as party searches for unity

Eric Chu denies chasm within KMT as party searches for unity

Taipei, Nov. 2 (CNA) Eric Chu (???), the presidential candidate and chairman of the Kuomintang (KMT), dismissed reports on Monday of a rift between him and Legislative Yuan Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (???) after Wang was conspicuously absent from KMT campaign rallies over the past few days. The reports said Wang's failure to appear at campaign events with Chu indicated his discontent and factional struggles within the KMT at a time when the party is facing an uphill battle in next January's presidential and legislative elections and badly needs to be unified. Chu said there have been no "bad feelings" or "disharmony" between him and Wang. "I have not allied with or antagonized anyone," Chu said, adding that he has communicated a lot with President Ma Ying-jeou (???) and Vice President Wu Den-yih (???) and that Wang was his respected senior when he himself served in the Legislature. Chu said in an interview with a local radio station that his original goal when agreeing to serve as the KMT's chairman early this year was to form a unified party and encourage members to put aside their personal views and feuds for the sake of the nation. He said he will do his best to achieve the goal even if there are difficulties along the way. The KMT recently scrapped a party rule that previously limited a member to serving two terms as an at-large legislator -- a lawmaker elected as part of a party slate rather than directly voted into office by voters -- clearing the hurdle for Wang to continue serving in the Legislature, where he has been speaker since 1999. A United Daily News report said, however, that where to position Wang on the slate of at-large legislator candidates has posed a dilemma for the KMT. Some feel Wang should be put at the top of list in line with the party's tradition of showing respect to a legislative speaker and win the hearts of localist factions. But that could lead to a backlash from the deep-blue (pro-China) camp and those who support President Ma, said the report, which also suggested that if the KMT were to put Wang further down on the list and give the first slots to people with fresh images, it could give the party a boost. Chu has said that he would handle the matter "in a way that shows Wang the greatest respect," but he stopped short of a firm assurance that he would put Wang in the first slot. In a gesture to appease Wang, Chu has also said that "Wang has been and will continue to be the legislative head of the party." But when asked if he and Chu have reached a consensus amid rumors that their relationship was tense over the at-large legislator issue, Wang said: "Let everything takes its natural course." On whether he has declined the invitation to serve as Chu's campaign manager, he said, "it is not appropriate to talk about this now." Tai Po-te (???), the head of the party's deep-blue Huangfuhsin faction that consists mainly of veterans, was recently quoted as saying that the party should not tailor its rules on term limits for at-large seats to any "individual." The faction later issued a statement to "suggest" that Wang take the initiative to be slotted 11th or below on the list. Asked if he was displeased with Tai's remarks, Wang replied: "you can probably figure it out." Commenting on the general direction of the Legislature, in which the KMT has a majority but is expected to lose it in January's elections, Chu reiterated his goal of legislative reforms in three directions: efficiency, transparency and neutrality of the speaker. He expressed the hope Monday that Wang with his considerable experience as legislative speaker since 1999, could push for reforms based on the public will. Chu said many people have criticized the inefficiency of the Legislature, but he said the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has played a big part in it and said the issue has to be solved even if the DPP wins the Jan. 16 presidential election. He also said that the practice of closed-door consultations between parties should be improved to make them transparent and that the speaker remain neutral. (By Tai Ya-chen and Lilian Wu)


Updated : 2021-09-24 13:14 GMT+08:00